Big Island hits record highStar-Bulletin staff
in drunken driving arrests
HILO -- Drunken driving arrests have reached a record number on the Big Island.
As of Thursday, Big Island police had arrested 1,073 people this year for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Last year, officers arrested 1,056 motorists for drunken driving -- then a record number for one year.
Police Chief Wayne Carvalho attributed the new record of DUI arrests to vigilance by police officers and a continuing problem with motorists who drink and drive.
"We have become increasingly aware that there are a number of drivers who have repeated arrests and convictions for drunk driving, yet they are still on the road," Carvalho said.
Carvalho said the number of fatalities has declined, from 38 fatalities at this time last year to 28 so far this year.
He said the police department plans to increase roadblocks and roving patrols in order to cut down on drunken driving during the Christmas and New Year's holidays.
The number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities so far this year is eight, compared to 14 at the same time last year, a decrease of 43 percent.
Carvalho said he's in favor of tougher drunken driving laws.
"Perhaps it's time to adopt procedures used successfully in other jurisdictions and forfeit the vehicles of repeat offenders," he said.